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Readers Forum

Reader responses to our articles, stories about making the world a better place, and ideas for connecting with other readers.
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Water Solutions cover tiltedWater Solutions

Water and population

It is utterly baffling how rudimentary mathematics is ignored in favor of “solutions” that adapt to and, consequently, perpetuate the fundamental problem (The Water Solutions Issue, Summer 2010). Why is it so difficult to address overpopulation? Is it too controversial? As a “progressive” magazine, you join the ranks of convention by ignoring the most blatant “elephant in the living room,” adopting the iconic Western medical approach of treating the symptoms, not the cause.

—John Rankin, Bothell, WA

The letter of the law

The Summer issue had so many interesting articles! My favorite is the interview with Robert Kennedy Jr. (“Citizens, Defend Your Local River”).

I am going to give out copies during our Sauk Valley Open Forum meeting. We are a peace group that tries to educate ourselves regarding political issues, etc.

The Robert Kennedy article shows us the way to help our rivers. He said that the “1888 Rivers and Harbors Act … made it illegal to pollute any waterway in the United States and included a bounty provision that said that anybody who turned in a polluter got to keep half the fine.” I hope the government does not take the law off the books!

—Ina Blades, Sterling, Ill.

Pete Seeger postcard, Readers Forum


Power and justice

Thanks for your insightful article, Frances Moore Lappé. I think it is very useful to think about what causes our powerlessness. The article reminded me of a book by Starhawk, Truth or Dare: Encounters with Power, Authority and Mystery. She talks about three ways power is used: (1) power over; (2) power with; and (3) power from within. And she provides lots of great exercises for groups and individuals to go through to see how power is working within these groups.

And I have also been thinking of another way people experience their powerlessness in our society— legal powerlessness. People feel powerless because they are. It is a lot more basic than some of the big issues of the day. People experience their powerlessness each and every day: when their landlord doesn’t make the repair they should, when they are laid off without adequate compensation, when their credit card company dramatically raises their interest rates, when they lose their home because they don’t know how to negotiate with a bank.

The reality is that most of us experience legal powerlessness because we get as much justice as we can afford. And with what attorneys charge now days, that’s very little indeed.

–Pat O’Connell, San Jose, Calif.


Meaningful work

Occasionally a human being is fortunate enough to find work with which he/she is able to truly make a difference for good. What a blessing your work is to the rest of us who have to postpone our search for meaning while we struggle for means.

My household has derived significant moral encouragement and regained some measure of faith in human decency as a result of reading your publication. This is no small task as I personally have become increasingly despondent with the noise of mainstream corporate-sponsored media, and the political economic machine that it supports. Thank you for that encouragement.

—Geoff Morrison, Raleigh, N.C.

YES! in Arizona

I have been giving out copies of the YES! multiracial issue (Spring 2010) during the May 29 march in Phoenix, Ariz., and during the mural protest in Prescott. Many hardcore activists (both Spanish and English speakers) have been touched, but also a Prescott police officer who offered us protection during the protest and gave us a big smile after the YES! present and the mayor of Prescott (who has been doing not very progressive work around here) and his wife.

Muchos blessos,

–Pancho Ramos Stierle, Berkeley, Calif.


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